The Pocket Gamer Report: More Handheld Competition, Please

i think Sony have definitely proven that Nintendo will always have competition in the Hand-Held market, i don't like the PSP myself, but Nintendo should watch their backs, for all we know the PSP will soon have touchscreen...

i also think that Microsoft are up to something, a while ago it showed that Microsoft had developed a small Motherboard type thing, that looked like a smaller version of the Xbox's Motherboard...so yeh, they are definitely up to something.

The problem with hopes for OnLive or similar coming to portables[1] is that you need one hell of a mobile network to run it, and considering that, in the UK at least, some mobile provides are struggling with what the iPhone uses, that ain't going to happen any time soon.

Of course, there's always laptops...

[1] ignoring the traditional problems that could come up with streaming services

I have always felt that there has been a lack of support from Sony outside of Japan for the PSP. Especially considering that I don't own either a PS2 or PS3, the only good games for the system are the side-kick spinoffs which appeal to me a lot less. And the fact that the UMD's were so expensive, especially when it came to movies, meant that they priced themselves out of the market by trying to include so much in such a small package instead of concentrating on one feature, like the DS.

Delusibeta:
The problem with hopes for OnLive or similar coming to portables[1] is that you need one hell of a mobile network to run it, and considering that, in the UK at least, some mobile provides are struggling with what the iPhone uses, that ain't going to happen any time soon.

Of course, there's always laptops...

Haha, in the UK? I live in Australia. The wireless infrastructure to support Gaikai or OnLive is about 30 years away, I reckon. At least 10 years away by landline, too, for my nation at least.

Also, I am in awe of your amazing footnote tag.

[1] ignoring the traditional problems that could come up with streaming services

And about Nintendo's domination of the handheld market has been bad for anybody? Look back at Nintendo's glorious history of Gameboys. Has anybody ever had any problems with their products so far? They've consistently made the very best product for the last twenty years. What's not to like?

What? A Pocket Gamer report not touting the iPhone/other iProduct of choice as the future of mobile gaming?

*head explodes*

Back on topic, though, while Nintendo may have had a stronger competition this gen with the PSP, the DS was still more or less unshakeable. I'm pretty sure the last NPD numbers for April listed the DS, while having a nearly 66% drop in total sales from April 2009, as the most bought console of April 2010, with 44.7 million units sold.

And what's the cause of the DS's sudden lack of potency? It could be due to an increasingly saturated market, as most people who want a DS should have one by now, or it could also be due to the announcement of the 3DS and its rumored(?) 2010 release. I don't think the PSP has anything to do with the DS's lack of potency at market.

This article is under the impression as well that the DS needs to be challenged. I'd say sure, but if only to keep the price down, but other than that the console is solid and has a vast library of titles to choose from, including a few FPS's. But this is a different argument for a different day.

In Rare's "Conker's Bad Fur Day; Live and Reloaded" (Xbox 1), if you leave Conker for a few minutes he starts to mess around, playing with Yo-yos and such. However, in the animation replacing the N64 original's 'pulling out a gameboy to play on', Conker presents a device which appears to be a combination of a GBA SP and an original Xbox 1 with a transparent green screen.

I would very much like one of these, Microsoft. Why have you not made one?

It's always difficult to displace a device with a large share of the market.

Nintendo's early competitors just didn't understand the market though;

I remember both the Atari Lynx, and Sega's game gear.

Both were better than the Game Boy by a significant margin, in terms of raw power...

Both had colour screens, faster processors, in short, they made the actual game boy games look totally rubbish by comparison.

Why then, did they fail?

Well, the Lynx was absolutely huge. I mean, calling that thing 'portable', is like calling a laptop portable.
It is, but you you pretty much need a bag dedicated just to carrying it. (and looking at my desk now, I note that my Wii console is infact smaller than an Atari Lynx was).

Furthermore, the Lynx was technically good, but never got off the ground with any interesting games. The high point of it's software library was california games

Then there's the Sega Game Gear.

I played with one a long time ago, and it was also quite large. Not as bad as the Lynx, but still huge compared even with the brick-like proportions of the original Game Boy.

It had more interesting games than the Lynx did, and the colour screen looked impressive, but when you actually used one, you noticed the problems.

Neither of these systems was 'portable', in any real sense.
Both were huge, and while I don't know the figures for the Lynx, the Game Gear required 6 AA batteries, and ate through them in about 4 hours of use.

Compare this to the game boy which used 4 AA batteries, and if stories are to be believed, could run for about 40 hours on one set, and you start to see the first inklings of an issue.
Certainly, with later hardware, I've seen my Game Boy Colour work for 27 hours on 2 AA batteries, so the original's abilities don't seem that far off.

The common flaw of all Nintendo's early rivals was they made 'powerful' hardware, but completely forgot about the fact that a portable system actually needs to be 'portable', and usable for a reasonable length of time without having to replace the batteries. (or worse, recharge a built-in one. In this sense, modern devices are a step backwards in terms of portability.)
The game boy was after all, a truly archaic system compared to home consoles, and even it's competitors.
The NES, which wasn't exactly state of the art either in 1984 when it was released, was still more powerful than the game boy of 1989...

Later competitors (such as say, the wanderswan, which had the benefit of being designed by the same person that came up with the game boy), at least gave thought to the 'portable' aspect of a hand-held system, but by this point struggled to compete with the games library of the Game boy.
After all, why buy a system with a dozen average games, when you could get one with hundreds of games, some of which were really good?

So now we finally have at least one competitor that's managed to survive, at the very least.
And yet, the PSP, while a much better design than say the Lynx, still went for the 'power over portability' idea...
Granted, it wasn't huge, like those systems were, but if accounts are accurate, it had battery life issues.
And it had the same problem of competing with the game boy's library.
Sure, the games started to look increasingly dated, but every system up until the DSi has had a degree of backwards compatability...
Just as well the Playstation brand was at a high point when it launched.

I would be interested to see someone try to launch another handheld, but considering the history, it has to be properly designed (ie. actually 'portable'), and it has to manage to get a decent games library going...

I applaud the PSP for being such a good handheld. If not for them, Nintendo wouldn't have felt pressure to make the DS so good. Without competition, you get lazy after all.

I think when it comes to the mobile gaming platform, it is getting closer. Although Nintendo holds it, with PSP rising up, and, with the iPhone becoming more and more popular...

just wait till the 3ds comes down the pipeline, i highly expect within a couple years noone will remember the psp.

Pendragon9:
I applaud the PSP for being such a good handheld. If not for them, Nintendo wouldn't have felt pressure to make the DS so good. Without competition, you get lazy after all.

Epic emphasis here. Without competition, how long did it take nintendo to push things the game gear had? Like 7 years to do a backlit screen?

Chrono212:
I have always felt that there has been a lack of support from Sony outside of Japan for the PSP. Especially considering that I don't own either a PS2 or PS3, the only good games for the system are the side-kick spinoffs which appeal to me a lot less. And the fact that the UMD's were so expensive, especially when it came to movies, meant that they priced themselves out of the market by trying to include so much in such a small package instead of concentrating on one feature, like the DS.

I think this has been Sony's problem in recent years. They tried to market the PS3 as so much while Microsoft simply was about the games. Same with the PSP. My friend argues all the time about what his PSP can do and I always say, "Games? There's a DS for that".

The '3DS' may or may not actually catch on, what with the continued re-release of variously modified Nintendo DS's. It makes good money in the short term, but drastically decreases demand for a new system for several years...at least that's how I see it.

Hoping to see Nintendo dethroned, if just a little. Would love to see other systems go 'mainstream' the way the Wii and DS have.

Pocket Gamer:
In fact, such a platform could become the gaming system of choice, offering cutting-edge visuals with portable versatility and comfort.

Well, except that you haven't exactly described a platform, yet. This is similar to where Netscape was in 1995. You've only described the deferral of resources (up to and perhaps including processing of most or all logic) into "the cloud", and haven't described where or how the client would live. You still need to define a client (i.e. the browser) and define if it's open (many devices) or closed (single device). Obviously, the former is most attractive, yet most likely the hardest to achieve on mobile devices. Creating anything standalone as a physical platform would seem short-sighted. Conversely, the nature of mobile devices seems to dictate that, with the possible exception of the Android, a virtualized platform would almost certainly be strangled by the vendors themselves who would perceive it as a threat to customer lock-in/retention. Even the Android would have to convince Verizon that a cloud solution wouldn't cannibalize their own existing revenue streams. Cloud computing actually seems to advantage iPhone (and any "smart" phone, really) in a big way, because they already participate fully in a network as close to 100% of the time as the world can conspire to deliver. Now, about approving that cloud gaming platform in AppStore...

It's a sticky issue. I personally agree that cloud computing has the most potential to transform the handheld gaming market. There are still massive issues to be solved. Just like on demand TV programming was a great idea but impossible to achieve in 1992, we may be looking at something that needs another 5-10 years to get it's feet grown underneath a very attractive face.

I don't really see why we need a rock solid competitor to the Game Boy, it's doing just fine.

Nintendo has always worked with more colorful and less technologically and twitch reaction demanding games, which makes them absolutely perfect for the development of handheld games, could you imagine a handheld FPS game? *shudders* (Ok fine, that Metroid game worked, but if anything, that's even more proof that Nintendo is doing just fine on it's own)

I love the Xbox 360, and dislike the Wii and PS3 (yes I gave them a chance, they are both sitting in the corner of my room collecting dust, incidentally, if anyone wants to buy a PS3 that has seen under 40 hours of use (I think 60g) drop me a PM) but let's be honest, Nintendo's games translate better to handhelds than either Sony's or Microsoft's do.

super_smash_jesus:
just wait till the 3ds comes down the pipeline, i highly expect within a couple years noone will remember the psp.

No kidding, since 3D gaming at this stage in our technological evolution is the worst idea since.......I don't know, the holocaust? (ok, not THAT bad, but still)

I was doing a fine job forgetting the PSP existed until you brought it up, lol.

Jaredin:
I think when it comes to the mobile gaming platform, it is getting closer. Although Nintendo holds it, with PSP rising up, and, with the iPhone becoming more and more popular...

People buy the iPhone as a phone/mobile media player first, and then play games on it since they can do that as well. That's pretty much the only reason for it's "popularity" as a gaming platform. It's a bit different then buying a piece of hardware specifically to play games with it, you expect a little more then iPhone can offer.

I think we need LESS handheld competition, but at the same time we need something to replace Nintendo's run. Most DS games are like most Wii games, horrible and for little kids. There are some good games, but for the most part they're just dull kiddy games.

If Xbox comes out with a portable game system, that means that games who want to have all possible opportunities to play games will have to buy three entirely different systems to have that chance. We already have to buy too many home consoles already for crying out loud! Even if there are shared games between them, there are still good games for each system that I'd want to play. If the next console generation has each company put out a new home system and a portable system, we'll likely be paying a good $1,600 USD (assuming Sony and MS cost $400 for home consoles and roughly $200 for portable with Nintendo costing $250 for home and $150 for portable) for all of them. That's just outrageous when it comes to gaming. And that's NOT including if you want to keep your PC up to date enough to play computer games.

BlueHighwind:
And about Nintendo's domination of the handheld market has been bad for anybody? Look back at Nintendo's glorious history of Gameboys. Has anybody ever had any problems with their products so far? They've consistently made the very best product for the last twenty years. What's not to like?

Yeah, I've got a Game Boy Color which have withstanded throwing into walls, water, rocks, being dropped and temperatures under -10 degrees Celsius.
The toughness of the Nintendo products just runs over everything elses.

I'm pretty sure that the DS' declining sales aren't a sign to panic. You're talking about something that's soon to become the most selling console ever. Declining sales are to be expected when everyone and their grandmother has one.

Since Nintendo's going to waste its time on an excursion into 3D, what's stopping Sony from stepping up with a TRUE successor to the PSP?

Sony obviously understands gaming hardware, what with the Playstation line under its belt and all.

Sony also has knows how to create a (debatably) solid phone, considering its line of competitive Ericsson smartphones.

It seems to me that all the groundwork has been laid for Sony to just converge PSP-caliber mobile gaming (dual analog, please!) with an Ericsson-style smartphone, in an all-in-one device that would appeal to both hardcore and casual gamers. Dual analog would go a long way towards attracting game developers, as well.

I love my PSP, and I think if they make a good successor to it, they could grab even more market share, I mean they've sold about 60 million psps so far, they just need to make a sequel that will prevent people from ripping off the games, and they'll make more money off of it. They managed to make an unhackable console with the PS3, I'm sure they can do the same with a PSP2.

(touchscreen, wireless N, two analog sticks, and PS2 Classics plz).

Want to know (my opinion of) why nintendo handhelds keep selling?

Up until the newest DSi, I could plug in the original cartridge Tetris for the original gameboy, and it would work.

Backward compatibility is key. I got a wii more for the online store than any specific game.

If nintendo does not develop a gaming-centric "Phone-tendo" (please god, with a catchier name) the ultraportable cellphone market is going to eat it from the inside, and you'll have your precious competition back.

thiosk:
Want to know (my opinion of) why nintendo handhelds keep selling?

Up until the newest DSi, I could plug in the original cartridge Tetris for the original gameboy, and it would work.

Backward compatibility is key. I got a wii more for the online store than any specific game.

If nintendo does not develop a gaming-centric "Phone-tendo" (please god, with a catchier name) the ultraportable cellphone market is going to eat it from the inside, and you'll have your precious competition back.

My DS Lite doesn't play Pokemon RED or the Pokemon TCG for GB/GBC

Mister Benoit:

My DS Lite doesn't play Pokemon RED or the Pokemon TCG for GB/GBC

Curious. I have never bought a poke man so i don't really know anything about it. Are they compatible with the advance, but not the DS?

 

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